Losing the Edmonton Oilers Stanley Cup means they are missing out on an extremely rare achievement

Had the Edmonton Oilers won the Stanley Cup, they would have secured their name in history not only because they were champions, but also because they accomplished an incredibly rare feat: winning a championship after being three games behind in the final round of a best-of-seven series.

No team in Major League Baseball or the National Basketball Association has done this, although a few teams have recorded victories in other playoff series.

The last – and only – NHL team to win the Lord Stanley’s Cup after losing three games in a row was the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs.

“There’s just not many teams that are 3-0 down that have the innate talent to come back from that, or the mental strength, especially to be able to win those back-to-back games,” sports analyst Neil Paine told Global News .

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Click to play video: 'Edmonton Oilers prepare for Game 7 of Stanley Cup Final: 'confident group''

Edmonton Oilers prepare for Game 7 of Stanley Cup final: ‘confident group’

Paine closely monitors and calculates match statistics. He said the numbers show something even more impressive about an Oilers win on Monday night, if it had happened.

The team only had a 3.3 percent chance of winning after the third game. The Florida Panthers won 4-3 and had outscored the Oilers 11-4 in the first three games.

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The 3.3 percent is an Elo rating, a number determined by considering things like a team’s regular and postseason performance, goal difference and even whether it played a home game, Paine said. It is adjusted after every match.

“We calculated these ratings for every game in NHL history, going back to 1918,” he said from Bentonville, Ark.

“And so you can really see the ebb and flow of a team’s quality and performance over time.”

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The Oilers’ 3.3 percent wasn’t the lowest a team that was 0-3 in a series ever had, Paine told Global News; that ignominious honor belongs to the 1975 New York Islanders, who fought back and won the quarterfinals against the Pittsburgh Penguins despite having a 2.8 percent chance of doing so.

But the Oilers’ score is “certainly the lowest we’ve ever seen in the Stanley Cup Finals,” Paine said.

“It’s really shocking to see a team even come back and tie the series,” he said, because hockey is such a team game.

“If there’s a mismatch between the better team and the better player, the team with the better team from top to bottom tends to win in the Stanley Cup Final, historically.”

Kevin Lowe, who played 14 full seasons for the Edmonton Oilers and won five Stanley Cup championships, told Global News that coming back from an 0-3 deficit is difficult because many things can go wrong.

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“Normally at this stage of the season the teams are quite evenly matched and it is difficult to beat a team with four consecutive games,” he said. “Even though you may be a much better team, once you get into the streak of winning your matches, it can be a five-minute penalty or strange things can happen in the match.”

Lowe said that looking at the first three games, the Oilers made mistakes that gave the Panthers an opportunity to create an offense that led to more goals.

He pointed out some of Florida’s first few goals in the series and said those goals could have been defended with “simple stick-on-puck plays,” but because of those mistakes, the goals went in.

“If defenders – any normal defender you know – do the normal thing, in all likelihood those two goals aren’t even going to happen,” Lowe said. “It’s not like Florida made an incredible offensive surge to create those goals. They still had to put it in the net.”

He said that after Game 3, an Oilers victory would have depended on the Edmonton team correcting those mistakes and eliminating the Panthers’ ability to score.

Before Game 7, he said a win for both teams would be “great for the sport.”

“Florida wins its first Stanley Cup, and that’s a big thing,” he said.

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with files from Eric Sorensen and Sean Previl of Global News

© 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Nathaniel Dove

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